Status Report

NASA Mars Picture of the Day: Ancient Sedimentary Rocks

By SpaceRef Editor
August 31, 2003
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Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Camera

MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-469, 31 August 2003

NASA/JPL/Malin Space Science Systems

The terraced area in this
Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC)
image is an outcropping of ancient, sedimentary rock.
It occurs in a crater in western Arabia Terra
near 10.8°N, 4.5°W. Sedimentary rocks provide
a record of past environments on Mars. Field work will
likely be required to begin to get a good understanding
of the nature of the record these rocks contain. Their
generally uniform thickness and repeated character
suggests that deposition of fine sediment in this crater
was episodic, if not cyclic. These rock might be indicators
of an ancient lake, or they might have been deposited
from grains settling out of an earlier, thicker, martian
atmosphere. This image covers an area 3 km (1.9 mi) across
and is illuminated from the lower left.

Malin Space Science Systems and the California Institute of Technology
built the MOC using spare hardware from the Mars Observer mission.
MSSS operates the camera from its facilities in San Diego, California.
The Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s Mars Surveyor Operations Project
operates the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft with its industrial
partner, Lockheed Martin Astronautics, from facilities ines

SpaceRef staff editor.